NC Capitol Connection was the first to uncover over 100 email addresses belonging to NC state government employees that turned up in a hack of the member database of the Ashley Madison website, which aims to arrange adulterous affairs.
Reporter Matt Caulder, who broke the story last week, has spent hours upon hours manually searching this database by domain name. Caulder is currently searching the database by municipality, starting with the most populous and working down, and more addresses continue to pop up.
Included in the hack are:
- NC Dept. of Health and Human Services
- NC Dept. of Transportation
- Guilford County
- Durham County
- City of Raleigh
- City of Charlotte
- Multiple NC school districts
For most, possibly all, of these employees, using their government email account for any personal use whatsoever is a direct violation of official policy. Therefore, Caulder has been contacted by officials requesting specific names of individuals whose names and email addresses he uncovered in the Ashley Madison database.
Our policy thus far has been to keep the individuals’ names private unless requested by the owners of the domains in question. It remains to be seen what the consequences will be for these state and local employees, but so far we have had requests from Moore County, Bladen Co. Schools, and Beaufort County officials for a list of their employees who were in the database.
The media have widely covered our story, as shown in the clips below, including an ABC11 interview with Civitas President Francis De Luca.
Note a particular point he makes: A public employee accessing such web sites is exposing a trove of private information to hackers. Every time a government worker uses a taxpayer-funded computer and government email to log on to a sleazy website, he or she is making personal information vulnerable to thieves who have no scruples about using it to commit fraud, or publishing it for the world to see.
As we have said repeatedly, this scandal is not about individuals’ behavior, but about the misuse of the resources you pay for with your taxes and how the most intimate information about you may be exposed. This is why we are cooperating with governments investigating these incidents. And, ultimately, that’s why governments can and should be smaller and should meddle less in our lives.
— Demi Dowdy